While traveling together through biblical era sites, people often ask me the excellent question “Ami, how do we know that these are the same sites that the Bible (Old Testament) is describing?” In order to answer this fascinating question we need to look at 3 variables:
-Preservation of the name. We know that the name Shilo has been used continually as the name of this site for over 3,000 years. There is a wonderful mosaic, dating back to 1,700 years ago, with the inscription “Have mercy on the people of Shilo”. The local residents have preserved the name “Seilon” throught the centuries. And there is a traveler named Eshtori Haparchi who described this site 600 years ago.
-Geographical description. One of my favorite things is to read the Geo description from the Bible & then show it in reality. In the Book of Judges (Bible) it’s written “…There is the annual feast of G-d in Shiloh, which is north of Beth-El, on the east side of the highway that goes from Beth-El to Shechem, south of Levona”. On your upcoming trip to Israel I will show you exactly how this plays out in reality, and we’ll see this with our 21st century eyes.
-Archaeological findings- The findings at our site work perfectly regarding who lived there & when. What do I mean? There were ancient Hebrews that lived there. We know this because of the shape of jugs & style of homes that we can see there today. The biblical story of Samuel & the Tabernacle (Mishkan) takes place 3,100 years ago. Fittingly, there are remains of charred olives & dates that thanks to Carbon 14 testing are dating back to exactly then! The clincher, though, are the remains of the huge stone frame at the site. It fits PERFECTLY with the size of the Tabernacle described in the Torah (80 by 160 feet).
Now that we understand that the site of Shilo that we’re talking about today is the important ancient town of Shilo, we’re ready experience it together in your upcoming trip to Israel.
There are obviously so many more interesting topics to touch upon as we experience Shilo together. The figures who walked here- such as Hanna, Samuel the Prophet & Eli the High Priest. How the actions that they took here in ancient times impact our lives even TODAY!! In what way do these ancient stones lay out the drama of the tensions between the beginnings of Judaism & the already present Paganism, and so much more..